Scaffolding costs to maintain safety of derelict Jedburgh building are £6.5k a month, it emerges
The cost to Scottish Borders taxpayers of maintaining a derelict building in Jedburgh high street has now reached almost £600,000, it has been revealed.
A former ground floor hair salon and upper-floor flats at the corner of 12 Market Place and 2 High Street have been covered in scaffolding for five years.
The council is pushing ahead with a Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO) hearing via video-link on April 22 after failing to come to an agreement with one of the flat owners and wants to flatten the building and replace it with social housing.
To date the total costs of making the building safe since the scaffolding was put in place back in 2015 are £580,008,04, a council document prepared ahead of the CPO hearing reveals.
The scaffolding around the building to maintain its safety comes at a cost £6,572 every month.
Those rising costs led the council to seek a CPO.
The report says: “The primary reason that prompted the decision to seek a CPO was ongoing rising costs which led to any plan to reinstate the property not being financially viable.
"These were made up of four factors, the cost of the work already carried out, future reinstatement costs, the costs of ongoing scaffolding to make the property safe and the property valuations given by the district valuer.
"Because the owners did not take steps to carry out the prescribed works to remove dangerous elements of the property, the council was required to step in an complete the necessary repairs.”
The council has come to a voluntary agreement with three of the property owners for voluntary transfer but settled with the fourth occupier and a CPO is being pursued.
The council document reveals that the authority has offered to waive the £123,599 it calculates has been spent on protecting that individual’s property.
The report adds “The objector has stated that they would accept a payment of £25,000 from the council by way of settlement. This is unaccepted by the council.”
Ken Goddard, lead advisor to the objector, has argued that because of the public interest in the case the upcoming hearing should be delayed so interested parties can attend.
He said: “With regard to the costs the local authority has been unable to quantify these amounts despite numerous requests, no tenders, quotes have been submitted and they have sought funding from Scottish Heritage for a building they wish to demolish. Clearly there is an ulterior motive behind this. Accordingly an in-person public enquiry remains the only practical way to reach an honest conclusion to this.”